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New York Court Discusses Liability of Non-Treating Providers

Mammograms are a critical component of preventative care. Many women do not undergo mammograms on a yearly basis, though, despite the clear health benefits. Other women undergo mammograms in mobile screening vans that typically offer mammograms during breast cancer awareness month. If a mammogram conducted in a mobile van is not properly performed or evaluated, and a woman subsequently suffers harm as a result, it can be difficult for the woman to pursue medical malpractice claims. This was demonstrated in a recent radiologic malpractice case arising out of Kings County, in which the court dismissed many of the plaintiff’s claims. If you were harmed by a negligent radiologist, it is wise to speak with a skillful Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a mammogram at a mobile screening unit. The defendant radiologist was retained by the company that administered the mammogram to interpret the images. Thus, he interpreted the plaintiff’s mammogram and reported to the plaintiff’s primary care physician that the mammogram was normal, but that a recall was advised. The report also stated that the plaintiff had dense breasts that made her mammogram difficult to interpret. The plaintiff underwent examinations with her primary care physician and gynecologist, neither of which revealed abnormalities. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with breast cancer approximately a year later. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her gynecologist, primary care physician, and the radiologist for failing to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner. She also alleged negligent supervision and lack of informed consent claims. Following the close of discovery, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted in part.

Duty Owed by Non-treating Providers

Upon review, the court found that the plaintiff raised triable issues of fact as to whether the original mammography was adequate to obtain an interpretation, whether the defendant radiologist improperly categorized the mammogram as normal rather than inconclusive, and whether the aforementioned errors resulted in a delay in diagnosing the plaintiff’s breast cancer. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent and negligent supervision claims, however. Additionally, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that the radiologist should have obtained prior films for comparison or that he should have recommended a sonogram. Rather, the court stated that the radiologist was not the plaintiff’s treating physician, and therefore his role and legal obligation in her treatment was limited. Specifically, the court found that neither the radiologist nor the company that retained the defendant radiologist owed the plaintiff a general duty of care. Therefore, he did not have an obligation to obtain prior films from the plaintiff or advise her to seek further testing.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suffered harm because of a radiologist’s inaccurate assessment, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Syracuse radiology malpractice attorney to assess what compensation you may be able to recover. The diligent attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will work tirelessly to present effective arguments in favor of your recovery. We can be reached at 315-479-9000 or through our online form to set up a meeting.

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